Today is the anniversary of Selena Quintanilla-Perez’s death. My relationship with Selena and her music is a lot like how I came to Aaliyah—after she died.

I didn’t grow up with Selena much in the same way I didn’t grow up with Aaliyah. But with both Aaliyah and Selena, I came to know them through movies. I was introduced to Aaliyah from her songs for Anastasia and her music video for her film Romeo Must Die; Selena I came to know from Selena, starring Jennifer Lopez. (Coincidentally, this film was also how I was introduced to Lopez, even though I didn’t realize I’d seen her years before on In Living Color.)

Selena is a  lot more than just a biopic. The film is a time capsule of late ’80s-early ’90s life (especially the style and fashion), a music film, and a living monument to one of music’s brightest talents. The movie also cemens Selena’s legendary status, something that only grew after her tragic death at such a young age.

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There are many moments from the film that stand out to me, like when her father Abraham (Edward James Olmos) didn’t want her to wear the Madonna-esque bras on stage, to when she first meets her husband Chris (Jon Seda) and Chris having to face the onslaught of Selena’s protective family, and the moment she comes into contact with the woman who would kill her, Yolanda Saldivar (Lupe Ontiveros).

But what I remember the most from the film is the scene where she’s singing “Dreaming of You” at the Grammys. There were some lines in the film that gave the impression that Selena was just reaching the zenith of her career as a crossover star. There’s a “what if” quality about that scene, especially since it leads into her death. That “what if” quality is something that’s always haunted me and stuck with me even to this day.

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I might not have grown up with Selena’s music blasting in my parents car, but her music and her life still affected me. I’m now a fan. Even in death, she lived up to her legendary status.

What did you love about Selena and the real-life singer? Give your opinions below the post.

Jennifer Lopez as Selena in Selena. Screencap.

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